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"FanCode is focused on delivering value to our users": Yannick Colaco

FanCode deals in major areas like live content, sports statistics, analysis and commerce.

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Mumbai: India's premier digital sports destination FanCode is initiating a slew of new offerings on its platform. FanCode deals in three major areas like live content, sports statistics, analysis and commerce. 

Under the umbrella of Dream Sports, FanCode was launched to change the dynamics of sports consumption in India. The platform offers live streaming, sports data, analytics, statistics, a merchandising store, tour passes, expert analysis, opinions and the latest sports news.

The company is led by co-founders Yannick Colaco and Prasana Krishnan. Both worked together at sports broadcaster Nimbus Sports until 2013. Colaco went on to join the National Basketball Association (NBA) while Krishnan joined Sony Pictures Networks India.

Colaco was part of the international leadership team of the NBA and managing director of its India business. He spent the next six years driving the grassroots development of the basketball sport in India, setting up a full-fledged NBA Academy and building partnerships across licensing, content and marketing initiatives. He was also instrumental in bringing the first-ever NBA Games to India. 

A consummate sports enthusiast, Colaco has been in the sports and media industry for two decades. In his view, avid sports fans in the country were underserviced when it came to accessibility to sports content. The consumption of sports content was fragmented across multiple platforms.

He joined forces with Krishnan in 2019 to launch their entrepreneurial venture with a commitment to give sports fans a highly personalised and unified experience of sports content.

Colaco told Indiantelevision.com that FanCode’s goal is to “redefine the way sports fans follow their favourite sports by creating a more integrated and immersive experience as well as by giving them greater access to a wide variety of sports content."

In an in-depth conversation with journalist Ashwin Pinto, FanCode co-founder Yannick Colaco spoke about the company’s progress, challenges, trends in the sports business, acquisitions, expansion plans and more. 

Edited Excerpts: 

On the progress, FanCode has achieved

FanCode focuses on redefining the way sports fans follow their favourite sports by creating a more integrated and immersive experience. It gives them access to a wide variety of sports content. Our greatest ally in delivering on this is the ability to unlock the potential of digital for sports fans.

Since 2019, the company has significantly upgraded the viewer’s experience by integrating key services which are fundamental to their ability to follow their favourite sports. The services supply include live scores & commentary, live stream & video on demand, match insights & analytics, and official fan merchandise. All of this while supplying fans access to live streams of over 350 events and over 50,000 hours of live content. We are thrilled at the way sports fans have embraced our product and we now have over fifty million users on FanCode. 

On the challenges faced by FanCode and its determination to be a standalone product

FanCode is focused on delivering value to its users. Every offering that this company provides has been predicated. Given the response received so far, its viewers see value in having an integrated experience, rather than having to access multiple products to follow the same match or event.

Fortunately, having an amazing team of FanCoders, including some of the best talents in the country, who have met the challenges head-on and continue to deliver amazing results, FanCode is blessed to meet all its product and technological challenges and give a seamless experience.

Indian sports fans have limited access to great sports content. An integrated solution before the launch of FanCode did not exist overseas. Some companies do provide streaming of sports content but are limited to offering news and analysis. Earlier, the experience for the viewers was broken.

On FanCode’s business model as an SVOD platform and cracking micro-transactions

Paying for content on digital platforms is still very new in India. Realising the need for paid users at a very early stage FanCode worked on a priority basis in expanding the ecosystem. As per the feedback received, the company found out that the largest constraints were not willing to pay even for the entry tickets. To address these, it took a page out of the hugely successful sachet pricing strategy of FMCGs in India and gave fans the ability to buy matches and events, instead of buying only monthly and annual packages. The company has also invested significantly in building technology around an in-house subscription service which created an exceptionally smooth and seamless purchase experience.

Results have been great with a rapidly growing number of transacting users. What's also remarkably interesting is that many match and tour subscribers come back to buy multiple times and even upgrade to annual packages.

On offering sports fans a personalised experience

For Fancode success is about users' seamless experience. For example, if you’re a fan of Virat Kohli, you should be able to watch him bat, watch replays of his best shots, access his stats in the current match and his career, chat with other Kohli fans, and buy his jersey; all inside the same experience with minimal friction. 

Personalisation of experience is an extremely important part and thus the focus is exactly on where to invest significant resources over the next year. Sports fans wear their allegiance on their sleeves and are happy to talk about who they support. It is the company’s job to take this data and build technology solutions to provide a customised experience for higher engagement.

On setting new trends in sports consumption

The migration of fans from traditional modes of sports consumption like linear TV, newspapers, etc., to digital channels, has been phenomenal and this continues at a rapid pace. With this migration, the expectation of what a fan should have access to has also grown. Fans want to access scores, live matches, highlights, and stats. They want everything packaged in bite sizes and they want it at once.

On its foray into streaming sports content

There is absolutely no doubt that there is a significant growth in fandom for sports in general across India. As FanCode continues to expand the range of events and sports that are featured, a lot of growth in other sports is also observed, which were previously underserved.

There is some particularly good traction in partnership with Major League Baseball and the J League (football) as well as the remarkable thing is that every user who consumes these on this platform is authenticated and not just a blip on a rating scale. For FanCode, it becomes easy to improvise by having an amazing opportunity to build a direct relationship with consumers and get real-time feedback.

On the acquisition strategy behind FanDuniya

The acquisition of FanDuniya helped in strengthening sports statistics and analytics offering under FC stats. It helps to build one of the largest stat hubs. FanCode will continue to explore these opportunities to help create more value for the users.

On launching its merchandising store FanCode Shop

Sports merchandise has been a significantly underserved market in India. As sports fandom has grown the demand for fan gear has increased. There are other many elements to consider including ranges of fan gear, styling, name and number gear, fit, pricing, etc. and honestly, the market has been ignorant of most of these.

FanCode spent a significant amount of time with the teams and leagues it partnered with, which caters to fans across the country and now has over 30 sports brands with more than 800 products. Making fan gear, and variations of it, accessible and affordable has been an important part of growing the ecosystem.

It has partnered with several sports leagues and teams for their licensed merchandise and worked with official partners of many of the other leagues and teams which enabled it to be a comprehensive destination for fan merchandising including 10 IPL teams, NBA, Manchester City FC, Liverpool FC, FC Barcelona, Bengaluru FC, MotoGP and WWE. We also improvise our technology to innovate and deliver rapid turnaround times in both the creation and distribution of fan gear, ensuring that fans will have the latest, most topical designs of their favourite sports brands and teams.

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